The Funeral Chair Is Getting There

After months of working on it in fits and starts, the Funeral Chairs are finally coming along.

All lined up and ready for assembly.

This passed weekend I managed to sand all of the parts to 220. Then I realized I had forgotten to round over the tops of the legs. So I took out the belt sander again, rounded the tops and then re-sanded the tops to 220.


I made a pencil mark near the tops, being sure to stay behind it with the 120 & 180 grit. Then with the 220 I sanded through the marks, making sure to sand them off. This way, in ensured that I did't go further with my course grit, leaving a rough spot.

After rounding the top of the legs with a belt sander
I had to re-sand them to 220 grit.

With the exception of the seats and back, all of the parts (legs and stretchers) are square and narrow. To sand them I used my RO 90 in random orbit mode. I was more concerned with a smooth finish thn a flat surface, so I used a soft platten on the sander. While on the 120 grit, I added a simple round over to break the edge. Then after going over it all with 180, I added an interface pad for the 220. This ensured that every surface was sanded, even the round-overs.

The interface pad is a must have accessory.

I also spent some time thinking about assembly and finishing. In The Unplugged Woodshop, Tom describes how he pre-finished his parts before assembly. While I see the value of that given the nooks and crannies of the assembled chair, I'm not eager to mark and tape off all of my joinery prior to finishing. What I decided on was that I would assembly one side. Then I'll tape off the joinery of the other side  using the assembled side as a clear guide of exactly what needs to be finished. Finally, I'll finish the chair as three pieces: the assembled side, the seat and the remaining side. Once finished, I should be able to easily assemble the remaining side.

Though experience may prove this strategy a failure, I'm hoping it provides the best compromise of pre-finishing and assembly. With any luck I'll be sitting on the chairs in another week or two (I damn well better be before the Long Island Woodworkers Showcase).

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